For the past two years, I've spent countless hours a week with my second family, the dedicated editors and writers of the Colby Echo. Each Tuesday evening, I expect arguing, last-minute layout adjustments and an air of overall pandemonium − all of which I take in stride. I understand the chaos of producing a newspaper. Writers submit articles last minute, and copy editors destroy pages with vibrant pens. As I walked into the office of Woman's World magazine in early June, I braced myself for ringing phones and frazzled coworkers. But only a friendly murmur met me at the door, and a smiling assistant showed me to my desk. I was going to like working for this magazine.
Although the office seemed relatively calm, I quickly realized that everyone is on a deadline. Producing a full-sized weekly magazine with a relatively small staff of about 45 people sounds daunting, but when working for the magazine is your only responsibility − without the distractions of homework and spending time with your friend − you realize that such an undertaking is reasonable.
I was unsure what to expect when I accepted this Lovejoy Journalism Internship position. So many hopeful journalists launch their careers as coffee runners or mail sorters; but Woman's World, a NewJersey-based weekly magazine with a 1.5 million circulation, had me writing on my first day. Most of my internship duties involve reporting and writing for various health sections of the magazine, and I also work for the travel section one day a week.
There are quite a few columns to which I contribute, but my favorite project to tackle is "Ask the Doctor." I have been scouring the New York Times online health section since I was in high school, and when I told my boss about my fascination with new medical research, she immediately assigned me to work on this column.
Now I'm constantly communicating with doctors regarding groundbreaking health research on topics such as whether women need a yearly pap smear and the side effects of ADHD medications. Not only am I amazed by what I hear from the experts, but I am also learning how to stylistically write about health topics − even without a science degree. The process involves researching recently published articles and scientific studies and applying a new angle to their findings. Then, I contact doctors and write up a version of their detailed responses. I work on this column for at least a couple of hours each day, and it never becomes monotonous. That's the great thing about writing on health: the topics are endless, and research never ceases.
When I am not working for various health editors, I spend many hours researching and writing "Armchair Travelers." Each week, a new destination is covered in the travel section, and the travel writer fills two pages with highlights of the city. The "Armchair" column features introductory ledes and recipes for foods, drinks or spa treatments that are specific to the region. This section requires creativity and sleuthing skills, and the responsibility of the entire column has been awarded to me.
For each town, I either contact the local travel bureau or conduct my own research. I prefer the latter because it allows me more creative freedom, but sometimes it is difficult to track down a town's specialty. Last spring at Colby, I was enrolled in a travel writing course taught by Tilar Mazzeo, and some of the skills I learned in her class now help me as I work for Woman's World travel section.
Interning for a magazine rather than a newspaper has shown me that not all journalistic outlets are cutthroat. Instead of reporting the latest news to the masses, I'm taking the time to sift through newsworthy topics and writing about only what seems to be particularly eye-catching to women. I'm intrigued by the opportunities I will encounter during my internship, and I am eager to see my stories published in future issues of Woman's World. And I know when I return to Colby in the fall for my junior year of college, the skills I've learned at this nationally-renowned magazine will help me when I jump back into the frenzied pace of putting out the college's weekly newspaper.
Courtney Yeager '12 hails from Cincinnati, Ohio; she is one of three Lovejoy Journalism Interns working at newspapers or magazines this summer. Courtney is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in Italian. Her high school didn't have a newspaper, so her first experience reporting came when she began working for The Echo during her freshman year. Her dream job is to be an author, someone whose fiction books are as raw and real as Margaret Atwood's.